Well, the soon-to-be 20 year-old pop star, Justin Bieber, is at it again. Anyone with a WiFi connection has either read or heard about the Biebs and his little driving misadventure down in Miami. While, thankfully, no one was injured, the singer faces a slew of ongoing charges including a potential DUI (driving under the influence) conviction. Suddenly, it’s not looking so good to be Canadian between this and the latest Rob Ford video release.
I know we shouldn’t let Bieber and the mayor who-must-not-be-named define us, but, truthfully, they do shape perceptions. Both American and Canadian media love to follow the latest twists and turns in both figures’ daily scandals, no matter how minimal. It has even gotten to the point where our premier is speaking out and taking questions on Bieber’s travails. Seriously, I just heard American radio talk show host, Rush Limbaugh, call Bieber “a by-product of [our] Canadian socialist system.” Any in-depth discussion I’ve heard about Bieber, along with Ford, almost always turns into a dissection of our country’s character.
I understand sensationalism sells and gets the website hits, but we can do better on the Canadian side. Canada has always prided itself in being above the tabloid-style reporting prone to American media. What about covering fellow public figures like Celine Dion more often when warranted? When Dion officially earned the title of best-selling female artist of all time with an impressive total of 220 million albums sold worldwide, it got little to almost no press at all within Canada. While she isn’t everyone’s musical taste, Dion is a positive reflection of this great country and what an upbringing under our set of Canadian values has the potential to produce. Dion has even spoken to the positive merits of Canada’s social programs, having used them herself as a child.
If we’re going to embrace the power of celebrity as a culture, we should at least put it towards some productive use. We also happen to have rapper Drake and Nickelback band frontman Chad Kruger as celebrities. Now, I’m not saying the above two don’t get reported on or talked about, but it is not to nearly the same level as the train wreck-in-motion, Justin Bieber.
In a perfect world, Bieber would get not more, but less attention with these recent stunts. It sends the wrong message to teenage fans of the singer. As consumers of daily news, we can change the direction and content. Our wallets and Internet browsing speak louder than our words.